2015 in review

Thank you, everyone who reads. I am most honored and humbled. I feel it was a successful year for my healing. Onward to 2016!

love,

~E

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Guarded Joy

As a child and into the teenage years, I learned to guard my feelings. I did not want to give in to the joy of the holiday season, because it could be ripped away if I got in trouble. If I showed that I was happy about Christmas, then I was considered “arrogant” and I didn’t deserve Christmas gifts. I don’t remember a year when I didn’t get gifts, but there was always a threat. I never knew until Christmas morning if Christmas would actually happen. I did not make a list or wish for anything, because I didn’t feel like I deserved a Christmas. I felt that I was arrogant and selfish. I was told that I only thought of myself and I needed to be more giving to others, and I believed them. Mom and Dad tried to make Christmas happy for us. Dad would call on the phone pretending to be Santa. Mom would fill our stockings with treats. I know my parents wanted Christmas to be special for us, but I remember being extremely nervous around the holidays.

These are the feelings that I have been battling this morning. I have been happy with myself this year, because I have successfully stayed in the moment. I have made happy times with family and friends. Last night I got very little sleep because of the baby. When I get little sleep, then it is easy for the negative feelings to arise. I want a happy Christmas, but I don’t deserve it. Husband and I picked out our gifts for each other last night, but I have a hard time accepting anything. I just want to give to others and have everyone forget about me. I don’t need anything.

I want to show my children the joy of giving. I want traditions. They deserve to have a happy time with family and friends. They have a lot to learn, but I don’t want them to feel like they are lower class because of their lessons. I would like for them to feel the joy of giving gifts while still getting some special things on their lists.

I know that we are living the dream. I am so lucky. I have a home and a beautiful family. I am so thankful for my life and the opportunity to heal from a troubled past. I know there are many who face personal struggles during this time of year. Thank you for letting me share mine.

~E

 

Backstage

 

Before we joined the cult, I loved celebrating the holidays. Each year would bring many opportunities to get together with family. Brother and I could play with our cousins. The parties were always loud and fun. There would be love and laughter radiating from the house. We had a few years of family parties after we joined the cult, but after a while we stopped getting together with family.

The whole season from Halloween to the new year I longed to be with family. I would sit and imagine parties and being together again. However, my feelings were conflicted. If we did get a chance to see our family, then we had to have a meeting with one of the pastors. They would ask us what we talked to the family about, then they would tell us if we had said anything wrong. Usually I got in trouble for not “sharing my feelings” with the family. I was supposed to tell them what they were doing wrong in their lives, and how they weren’t following the Lord. I did not like the pressure of seeing family. I would be distracted the whole time, thinking about what I was supposed to be saying or doing. In a way, not seeing the family was easier. It was easier because I wasn’t getting in trouble from the pastors or feeling awkward at family parties. It was hard not to see the family. My heart longed to spend time with them, but my heart was turning cold.

Each Christmas, there would be a play. Charles DickensĀ A Christmas CarolĀ was acted out by the pastors’ kids and anyone else who was right with the Lord at that time. I longed to be part of the play, because that is how you knew you were doing something right. I was also very nervous to be in front of people. This year, Dad was playing Bob Cratchit and Brother was playing Tiny Tim. Mom was not in the play, and Sister was too young. I would be helping backstage, with costumes and scene set up. Since he was Pastor W’s son, Ted would be a director backstage, as well as having a small part in the play. It was very fun to help backstage, but I had to do my best to avoid Ted. There were times where I would be placed in a dark corner backstage, and he would always find me. He would not do much, but it was still a violation. I couldn’t move or I would not be able to do my job. I didn’t want to draw attention to what he was doing. I had already told on him once, and no one had believed me. So I just stayed. Physically, I was standing there, emotionally, I was running away. I would detach myself so I wasn’t feeling afraid, mad, and violated. The moment would pass and the show continues as if nothing happened. The church did the play three days in a row right before Christmas. I thought it was a pretty good production, but I hadn’t seen another play; maybe just once with Grandpa to the Nutcracker when I was younger.

We had a small Christmas at home. It wasn’t a big family party, but it was our own day and I was grateful for that. It was a day with just our family at home. We didn’t have to talk to anyone from the church and it felt like a day off. Christmas was happy and relaxed. Even though I had been through some pretty tough lessons this year, Mom and Dad still got me presents. Dad liked to take us on adventures, so we went to Snoqualmie Pass to sled in the snow. For one day, we felt normal. This type of quiet Christmas was becoming our new normal. It was fun, and for one day, we were happy.

~E